Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 is the newest addition to the Magic: The Gathering digital game series created by Wizards of the Coast. For those unfamiliar with the title, Magic: The Gathering is a collectable card game in which players duel one another using a deck of cards that have various attributes and properties.
The main types of cards that are played in a game of MTG are creature, enchantment, artifact, sorcery, and instant cards, which all have different uses and purposes. Currently, there are more than 10,000 unique cards that Wizards of the Coast has produced for the MTG card game.
The beauty of the MTG-DotP is that one does not have to buy all the cards. It is simply a simulation of the actual card game and all the cards can be unlocked through normal play. MTG-DotP offers a tutorial for new players to learn the ropes of MTG and a variety of different game modes for both single player and online multiplayer.
The “Campaign” consists of four sections. The first and main section is the actual campaign mode itself. Starting with only one deck, you, a Planeswalker, — one who is able to tread among different planes of existences — battle your way through the ranks. Each stage consists of four duels, unlocking new cards after each victory and a new deck every few duels.
Here, you also learn the back-story to non-player Planeswalkers and MTG lore. The “Revenge” mode allows the player to face-off against the main enemies from the campaign mode; the catch being enemies have fully unlocked decks. The duels are more difficult because the opponent has access to all the cards in their particular deck. “Planechase” mode, which is new to the series, puts the player against three AI-controlled opponents. What makes this mode fresh is the added “plane cards,” or location cards based in the world of MTG. These allow the players to switch planes, but during the process implements certain limitations or exceptions to the current match, such as allowing only one action to be take place during a turn or nullifying attacks of certain attributes.
The last mode is the “Challenge” mode in which the player is thrown into the middle of a match in a specific situation and must devise a strategy to prevent the opponent from winning. This mode is reminiscent of the challenges found in the single player mode of Blizzard’s “Starcraft 2.” The multiplayer option in the game also includes its own set of modes (Two-Headed Giant, Free-For-All, Planechase), allowing up to four players to battle wits against one another or pair up for a two-versus-two mental showdown.
“Magic: The Gathering” has a very steep learning curve, and one must constantly track their own health points as well as those of their creatures, while also considering the added effects and abilities of certain cards. The video game series gives newcomers a chance to learn the card game through practice with AI-controlled opponents. The player can also modify the difficulty of the AI to better suit their preferences.
Check-marking certain settings in the options menu will also aid newbies by offering helpful tips during the match and advice on what cards to play during your turn. Overall, MTG-DotP 2013 is definitely a must-buy for the seasoned veterans of MTG and those searching for a different genre of gaming that requires critical thinking and advanced decision-making.